Thursday, April 28, 2005

I Miss You Mom

Today is the two-year anniversary of my mom's death. I am forewarning everyone that this will be a sad entry, course you probably already guessed that, right?! I am going to write my mom a letter and then share my 'speech' that I read at her funeral.

Dear Mom,

I can't believe it has been two years since you've been gone. I still remember the day you died like it was yesterday. Monday, April 28th was a beautiful day. It was in the 60's and sunny. I remember the trees swaying in the breeze, and thinking just what a beautiful day it was; how it was one of the type of days you loved. It was neither too hot nor too cold, there was a nice breeze and NO BUGS YET! Dad called that morning to tell me they had to take you to the hospital the night before. He felt bad that you were at the hospital knowing how much you preferred being in your own bed. Unfortunately, Dr. O'Reilly was in Florida and you got the new cocky oncologist who really did a horrible job of managing your pain. I was with you a few hours before, and Dr. S. had you on a Dilaudid drip that contained A LOT less medicine than the morphine you were on previously. We put you under because we felt you were in too much pain. We thought the drip would be good; you would not be concious anymore and thus not feel any pain. You had told us you had enough, and when you told us that, we knew you had. The last words you and I spoke to one another were right before we changed you to the drip. I told you I loved you, and you were able to say clearly that you loved me too. I am SO glad that those were our last words to each other. At any rate, the drip was put in and you were soon in a sort-of drug induced coma; I know as a nurse you knew what we were doing. In fact, I believe you had your care all outlined, which we appreciated. The problem that occurred was Dr. S. gave you too low of a dose and you suffered through withdrawal. I cannot get over how cruel this was. You had to deal with the pain of cancer as well as the pain of drug withdrawal. I know Dr. S.'s fate is in the Lord's hands and I am trying to leave it to Him to deal with, but it's so hard. I saw you suffer, and like a parent with a child, I wanted to relieve any pain you were experiencing, so did Dad. We don't talk about this with Dad often; he is still too upset about it.

So Dad decided it was time to admit you to the hospital for some proper pain relief. The ambulance drivers, who were about 18-19 years old, treated you with little respect. Chris V., who worked for that ambulance company, told me at your wake that that is because you were a DNR. The ambulance company sends the least experienced workers to DNR's because they aern't going to have to resuscitate you. Basically, all they do is load and unload patients. Isn't that nice? Actually I am sickened to this day by their lack of regard for you and your pain.

I called Lee and she came over within the hour to watch Stephen. I stopped at the 7-11 to get Dad and I Super-Big Gulps because I felt this would be a long day for us and we could use the caffeine. None of us were sleeping much either. I headed to the hospital and don't remember too much. Mike arrived shortly after I did, and I remember thinking how it was just the four of us again. You appeared at peace, and finally out of pain. I didn't know exactly what to do at this point. Dad, Mike and I talked about Dad staying overnight, and I worried about not being there when you died. I did not want to get a phone call telling me you passed away; I wanted to be there.

Somewhere in the middle of this I decided I should call Jeff; I still don't know what pushed me in that direction. I didn't believe that you were going to die that day; I really didn't. So why did I feel so compelled to call Jeff and Pastor Blankman? Maybe it was you. I know you would have wanted Jeff by my side when you passed on. You knew he would make me feel better and take care of me. Even though it was busy season, Jeff left immediately. And he WAS there next to me when you died. Which leads me to the moments proceeding your death. Can you believe that the hospital was testing the fire alarms? We noticed your chest rise sharply. Then Mike, who I must admit was WAY more observant than the rest of us, said he didn't think you were breathing. Dad paged the nurse and she said your death was imminent. We all gathered around your bed, held onto you and told you it was OK for you to let go; we would be okay. And with that, you were gone. It was surreal, Mom. I have never seen someone die before. I was so glad we were all there with you, and that you did it your way.

Pastor Blankman arrived only minutes later, and was upset she missed your final moments. Route 83 was very busy that day; I know you can relate to that. Pastor Blankman was crying alongside of us; she felt a strong connection to you. Remember you were born on the same day and year as each other. She had grown close to you throughout your battle with breast cancer. I respect her so much; she was so good to all of us. Anyway, I felt so bad for her that I was trying to make her feel better. Julie and her mom came to the hospital and sat with us until we were ready to leave. Sarah just couldn't come. She was on her way and had to turn around. Dad took us to the room where you had your chemotherapy. I couldn't believe it was so small and so normal looking.

When we went to Dad's later that evening, I ran upstairs and took your past, present and future diamond ring that you left me. It hasn't been out of my sight since. I also wear you cross necklace every day; it helps me to feel like you're still with me. And in a way, I believe you are.

Oh, my gosh Mom, your wake was packed! People came from all over to pay their last respects. People I hadn't seen in ten or more years in some cases. We also received letters over the following months from friends sharing moments that they'll never forget. Your laugh was among the #1 things people say they remember about you. So your high school nickname of 'Giggles' still lives on.

I think about you every day. I see you in myself as I mother Stephen. I hear you whenever I try to make a hard decision. Hell, I hear you everytime I get upset about Jeff having to work late again. "Bev, it's his job. You do like to eat don't you? Don't give him any more problems about it. He doesn't like it anymore than you do." and so on. I have mellowed which is good. I just wish you could be here to see it! I wish you could be here to see Stevie grow up. Man is that kid a sweetie! You would've loved him; Dad is right. I wish we could go to lunch together, go shopping, grab a coffee in the mall and talk again. Christmas shopping just sucks now; it's a job not something I enjoy anymore. Hell, the holidays just aern't the same anymore. If I didn't have Stevie, I just wouldn't bother. Christmas is just a time where Jeff's family gets upset with us anyway. I know when Stevie is old enough to understand, it should get to be more fun. I think he will understand a lot more this year. I also am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact you will never get to meet this baby. With Stephen, I have pictures with you holding him, and I could call you for reasurrance during those early days when I just was having the hardest time. I still laugh when I think about how you talked me down from the 'routine' ledge I had myself planted on. You and I are so routine-orientated. Well, I remember you telling me about the bedtime routine you had Mike and I on. I was wearing myself out giving Stephen a bath every night, reading a book to him etc. You told me, "Bev, he's only a week and a half old. You don't have to have him on a routine yet." It seems like such a little thing, but I breathed a sigh of relief. I figured if the queen of routine told me to let it go, then it must be OK to let it go. I don't have to do everything perfectly and certainly not at this early stage. Now with this baby I won't have that. It scares me. WIll I have even worse PPD this time because you're not here. Who will take care of ME? No one is like your mom. OK. Your Son-in-Law just accidentally played the last two messages you left on our answering machine. I just heard your voice. Yes, I still have those messages on my machine. I also have them burned onto a CD as well. I know you regretted not remembering grandma's voice.

Well, I better go to bed, huh? I just want you to know that I AM okay. I just miss you all the time, but I am doing better than the first year. Till we meet again. I LOVE YOU, MOM.

Your daughter,
Beverly Boo


My Eulogy to You From Your Funeral
I've thought a lot in the last few days about how to summarize the type of person my mother was. She was a daughter, sister, niece, aunt, friend, mother and grandmother. But she was much more than those titles encompass. You see my mother was one of those rare individuals who truly put others' needs in front of her own. If you needed to talk, she'd listen. If someone was ill, she was there to make sure they were receiving the best medical care possible. She was a caregiver, and enjoyed that role to the fullest. I know she took excellent care of my brother Mike and myself. Whether it was a skinned knee or hurt feelings she was there. My mother was a room mother and always went on field trips. She was careful, though, to make sure she evenly divided those tasks between my brother and I. My mother was a fun mother. She genuinely enjoyed spending time with us (except my teenage years. I just never knew when to close my mouth!) She actually looked forward to summer break as much as we did. My mother drew people to her. I remember my teenage friends wanting to come to my house and talk to her. I didn't understand it then, but I do now. They came because she truly listened to them. Unfortunately as a teacher, I see far too many kids who are looking for a person like my mom. I feel truly blessed that she was there for me, and she always was.
After my teenage years my mom became my best friend. We did everything together. We loved to shop. Yes, we were THOSE people who shopped the day after Thanksgiving. I was so proud of my mom when she made the decision to go back to college. We actually took a class at the same school, and would meet together during our break. My mom was a big proponent of education. She used to say that education is something no one can take away from you, and being a teacher I know she's right! She was so proud that she raised two children who became college graduates.
The older I became the closer I got to my mother. We talked all the time, and shared our views on many different topics. I realized what a highly intelligent woman she was.
My mother was also the strongest woman I know. AS I watched her battle cancer, I saw that strength again and again. My father and I recently discussed that we never heard her ask,"Lord, why me?" She just kept on living. She loved her grandchildren so much. Michael Walter, for his sensitivity and determination, Amanda Deborah, for her girly-girliness. She loved looking at American Girl catalogs with her. Megan Loretta for her good-natured way of making her smile. She loved my son Stephen, or Buddha-Boy as she called him. He's a big boy. She said he made her feel peaceful. She was a wonderful grandmother to them all.
My mother meant everything to my family and I . Her final words to me were,"I love you, too." Well, mom I love you more than you'll ever know. The Lord has a special angel now that you're with him, and those that you left behind are the people we are because of you. Your legacy is family, friends and love. I love you mom. May you rest in peace, and in no more pain.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Disappointment; It Ain't Gonna Happen After All

I won't go into the long, boring story of why my dad has decided to end his relationship with J., but instead just give you the nitty gritty. I mean that's the best part anyway, right? Well, I don't know.

I am so disappointed that my dad and J. are not only NOT going to get married, but they are also not going to see each other anymore. My dad decided that, and I feel he was total correct in his decision, but it is a disappointment for me. I really liked J., and I have a hard time getting close to people. It was so nice having another woman to talk to; I am one of the few women in my family. J. was not my mother, but she had several qualities that made me warm up to her almost immediately, which like I've said before, does not usually happen. I actually was happy when my dad would bring her over to our house, and I can honestly say that I never felt that way about any of his other companions. I use the word companion because girlfriend just sounds way too juvenile when talking about a 54 year-old man.

I am also a bit upset because my son was warming up to her as well. He would always run up to her and give her a hug; it was sweet. Now I know he's only 2 1/2, but I do not want him getting attached to people and then they just leave his life. I am going to watch out for this in the future. Steve does not remember my mother; he was only 6 months old when she died. It is confusing enough to him when I try to explain who the woman with grandpa is in all of those pictures. You just can't mess with kids. So I have decided Jeff and I will meet my dad's next companion without Steve. She will not meet my son until we believe she will be in it for the long haul. I hope my dad understands.

Okay, here goes as to why the relationship is over. J. decided she didn't want family to be involved in my dad and her lives. Yep. She did not want to see my brother's family or mine. Remember from an earlier post of mine, that my dad does not speak to his family AT ALL, so my brother and I are the only family my dad has. We are also very close. She seriously expected my father to not have a relationship with us anymore. She said it was that way with her deceased husband and her; it was just the two of them, which is a lie. One of her daughters still lives with her, and the other is over at her house often, as it should be. Plus, her parents and siblings all live in close proximity to one another. So basically when she said she doesn't want family involved in their relationship, she doesn't want MY family involved. And that just hurts. Don't get me wrong, I am plenty pissed off about it, but I am still in the hurt phase. Originally, she wanted my dad and her to move to Florida. Well, guess who would be going with and LIVING with them as well? Yes, her daughters. You know, as someone who had also recently experienced the lose of a loved one, I would think she would have been more compassionate about my family's need to be together. I thought she understood something that few people understand---losing a loved one at a young age. Still having nightmares about that loved one hooked up to all these tubes and suffering. I really didn't need this shit, and neither did my father. To top this all off, the timing is lowsy. The anniversary of my mother's death is Thursday. Well, at least I'm not on fertility drugs this year.

I am proud of my dad, however. He said his family is not negotiable. He will see his kids and grandkids; they are very important to him. I know this was not an easy decision for him to make. It is very hard being all alone, and my dad truly is all alone. Yes, my brother and I are always there for him, no questions asked, but I know it is not the same as having your wife with you. And I agree with him that at age 54 his wife should still be with him; 54 is young, too young to be a widower. My mom was 51 when she died, certainly WAY too young to die. As I've said before, my parents were high school sweethearts. Until my mom died, my dad had not been without my mom since he was 17 years-old. And things have really changed since 1968!

It just sucks! I feel like a little kid trying to figure out why someone doesn't 'like me.' I also now worry again about my dad. When he was with J., I knew he was enjoying himself and not alone. My dad's a loner like me. He was happy with his small family unit: my mom, brother's family and mine. Life was good. Why did it have to change? THAT I will never understand.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I'm Losing It

I feel like the worst mother ever. Steve wouldn't take a nap yesterday, which mean I didn't get a nap or even some downtime. Which means I had absolutely NO patience for any crap a two-year old may pull. I know you all are laughing right now, because you know two-year olds pull LOTS of crap during the day. I thought maybe it was my hormones that were making me have no patience for things that, frankly, I would have found funny a year ago, or maybe if I was able to get some sleep! Well, the consensus is that it is not just me. Jeff took total care of Steve today, love that man, and by the end of the day was looking and sounding pretty much like I did at the same time yestesrday. I just feel like I say 'No, don't do that' too often. That Steve must think I'm not at all fun anymore. I feel so guilty about not physically playing with him like I used to, instead saying, 'Bring it to mamma. We'll play with it on the couch' that I actually got on the floor to build towers with him like we used to. Well, the kid must have forgotten that WE used to do this together, because he brought the blocks over by me, and proceeded to play with them by himself---for all of 30 seconds. Then he ran away, and I couldn't get up, which he found annoyingly funny. I told myself to change my attitude. Maybe I am the one to blame for his foul moods lately. I mean how much fun is it really to live with a fat woman who resembles your mother, but who can be really crabby most of the time? And said woman keeps talking about a new baby, but he has yet to see any real evidence of it. I mean mamma must have lost her freakin' mind! And you know what? I think I have.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Steve and His New Big Boy Bed!

Yesterday Steve's bedroom furniture finally did come in. When I say 'finally', I mean it took 13 weeks! Originally I was told 8 weeks. So you can imagine how stressed out and pissed off I was getting. Last week the owner and I had a little 'heart to heart' talk about why it was so important that this furniture arrive soon. You know, the fact that I am due to give birth in less than a month! I am not a bitch, in fact I am usually too nice in situations like this, but I had had it. I was patient, understanding, and still no furniture. I told him that he needed to do whatever it took to get me this furniture as soon as possible. Imagine my surprise when not only the furniture arrived at the store yesterday, but when the owner and his father came to deliver and set it up in the EVENING when Jeff was actually home. I felt a bit guilty and told Jeff this. He said that they got their money, so screw them. (Well, in so many words. Jeff is the one who lives with me, and thus had to hear all about my displeasure over the situation as the weeks went by with no furniture.)

After the men left, we put Steve's bed together and tried to include him as much as possible. We totally played up the BBB. Steve was smiling, but you could tell he was a little confused. We went through the normal bedtime routine, and then put him in his bed. He insisted on holding his new 'Elmo and His New Bed' book, which was fine with us. When I went to check in on him a half hour later, he was sitting looking like he was actually reading the book. It was too cute! By the next time I checked on him, he was asleep.

I went to bed early, for me, since I believed he would definitely be up a few times before morning. Nope. I heard a cry at 4:30 AM; a scared cry. Jeff heard it a minute later and flew out of bed before my feet even touched the floor! Steve fell out, or got out, of bed and was scared. Poor baby must not have known where he was at! Jeff put him back in bed, I gave him his Elmo stuffed toy, and down he went. Of course, I couldn't fall asleep again. Frustrating! I figured Steve would probably be up at the crack of dawn!

He wasn't. I had my Bible Study class this morning, Steve goes to the nursery, and needed to be up by 8:15. Steve is usually my alarm clock, so this has rarely been a problem. Luckily, I woke up on my own, because Steve was still sleeping! I had to wake him up! Now when I went in there it was so dark; I bought room darkening pleated shades for his room a year ago. The nursery has wood blinds; we may be buying some room darkening shades for in there now! Whatever the reason, Steve did very well in the BBB. I think I had more problems with it than he did.

Fast forward to lunch. Steve has some allergies and the poor boy had a stuffy and runny nose. I gave him some allergy meds. as he ate lunch, and then put him to bed for his nap. He was so tired! Again, I figured there was no way he would take a nap in that bed. He did, but I think I didn't run into much resistance because he was so tired. As he took a nap, I took a nap. When I got up, I felt wonderful! I actually cooked a good meal too!

Now he is in bed again, and I feel like Kelly from the Woman Wonders when I say I think I jinxed myself by talking about how well last night went! I hope not.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I Will Buy You a New Life

'I will buy you a garden where your flowers can bloom,
I will buy you a new car, perfect, shiny and new,
I will buy you that big house way up in the west hills,
I will buy you a new life----yes, I will'
----Everclear, 1998

When I grew up, there was a lot of love in my family, but usually not a lot of money. Now don't get me wrong, we never wanted for anything, well--except a pair of Guess jeans and the latest expensive fashions, but we were always well-fed and taken care of. We always lived in a house, had two reliable cars, and two parents that loved my brother and I very much. So we had a lot, but not in the way of material things. There was also a period of time when my dad just kept getting laid-off from work. Seriously, the man would work hard and still couldn't catch a break. For example, my dad worked for a Swedish company. He enjoyed the people as well as the job. Then guess what happens when my dad starts to feel very comfortable in his position? The company packs up and heads back to Sweden. How can you prepare for that? You can't. So for a period of time, that seemed like forever, my parents struggled. And by struggle I mean struggled to pay the housepayment, carpayments, etc. Do you know what it feels like when you hear your parents screaming at each other because one payed the car payment and didn't inform the other, and NOW there isn't enough money to pay the mortgage? It feels pretty crappy! And scary. Our extended family always helped out, on my mom's side anyway, and we always ended up OK. My dad's family however, took great pride in the fact that we were struggling. It was humiliating when they would bring over food for us and tell EVERYONE about it! For the record, my dad's family is so mean, and evil in my opinion, that no one in my immediate family has spoken to them in almost 15 years. I don't advocate severing all ties with family, but after almost 20 years of US 'trying to make it work', it appeared it never would improve and we all were better off without them in our lives. I am still very sad about this, but I know I can't change them. I tried. We all tried.

At any rate, my mom was very good at stretching a dollar and taught me that skill as well. I admit I could be very miserly when it came to money. I was just so scared if I didn't plan well enough, I would have to do without again and I NEVER wanted to feel that way again. Because of my parents' marriage at a young age, they were not able to go to college. My mom did when we were grown, and became a nurse, her dream. I was so proud of her. But growing up, my parents did not have college degrees. They both had planned on getting one, but life got in the way I guess. My parents, therefore, emphasized the importance of education, as well as not getting married at a young age. It was never a question of ARE you going to college, but rather WHERE are you going to college? I knew when I was 10 years old that I was going to be a teacher, and that is exactly what I became. I swore I would never get myself into the position my parents had. My mom said that if my brother and I had learned from my parents' mistakes then maybe it had been worth it after all.

So fast forward to my graduation day from college. My parents were so proud! They now had two college educated kids. I went to a private university and ended up getting an academic scholarship. I truly do not know how I would have paid for college without that scholarship. I am not very athletic, so that was out, and my parents were unable to set up college plans for us. They did pay for our first two years at a junior college, and then we were on our own, so to speak. I had to buy my own car too. I was pretty resentful at the time, but now I see how much I appreciate things that some people just expect. I think it made me a better person. I can be self-sufficient, and I am a stronger person because of it. On a side-note, my first car was a 1987 Oldsmobile Firenza. Does anyone remember those?

I met Jeff just two months after my graduation. He already had his masters degree, CPA, and a good job. Jeff is about 4 years older than I am. I was so impressed with his work ethic, and by his beliefs on saving money as well as not putting yourself in debt just to have what you want. I mean this man also paid off his credit cards every month IN FULL. (I learned from my parents just what a bad idea it is to run up credit card debt, so if I don't have it I don't spend it.) I hope I can always be this way. Well, of course there are many more reasons why I fell in love with Jeff, I won't bore you with those right now.

When I got my first job, I also bought a new care. Well, a 'new to me' car. As luck would have it, my brother got a company car so he sold me his for what he owed. Yes, boys and girls, I became a proud owner of a 1992 Chevy Cavalier!!! Hey, it was a lot better than the Oldsmobile!

So I continued to work and date Jeff. Jeff's family did not have the struggles my family had with money. Not at all. In fact, he was given his first car, and his sister got to go to the dealer and pick out her's. They both had their college degrees, bachelor's and master's, paid for. No loans. In addition to my scholarship, I had to take two loans which I am still paying off. Jeff always had the latest everything. The good thing about Jeff is he appreciated it all. However, we still have some disagreements about what our kids should 'get' and what they should 'work' for. And when Steve was only 6 weeks old, he felt it was so IMPORTANT to get his college tuition plan started NOW. I was still recovering and not sleeping, but hey my son was going to be able to go to college in 18 years without having to pay a dime of it himself. This I knew.

Backing up, Jeff and I decided to get engaged and to buy a house together. We initially lived in an apartment until we could move into our house AFTER we were married. When we found our current home, I thought I was living someone else's dream. Not because our house is grand or anything, but because it was bigger than any house I had ever lived in. I couldn't believe we could afford it. I just cried when I thought of planting flowers and well, this being my home. We live on a pretty steep hill, which makes our house have even more 'curb appeal' in my opinion. Now I know on my teaching salary that I never could have afforded this house, that it was Jeff's that bought this house, and it did somewhat bother me. But this is a house that we can raise a family in, so I got over it. So Jeff bought me a garden where my flowers DO bloom. He DID buy me a house in the west hills, just not the ones the song refers to. And I got my first NEW car, not new to ME car, but an actual new car. I was elated! I kept that car so clean, and then I gave it to my husband three years ago. See the difference? A new car isn't as big a deal to him, like it is to me. So my cars are immaculate, while his cars......AREN'T. So he also bought me a new car, perfect, shiny and new. Well, we have since bought me a second new car.

I really feel like Jeff has bought me a new life, so to speak. I used to look at the prices at teh grocery store. I remember shopping with my mom and bringing the claculator with us so we would spend only what we had. I don't do that. If I want something, within reason here, I buy it. I will tell you, though, that I still feel guilty about buying my Coach purse last year. I mean I spent $500 on the purse and wallet, and it isn't even that good-looking. I believe I bought it because I still have those feelings. Those left out, not good-enough feelings. Like a purse can change that? Oh, and it was right before Mother's Day. I admit to being an emotional shopper. I wish I would have spoiled my mom. Bought her the things she would never buy herself, even though my parents were doing quite fine financially when she died. I wish I could have showed her what fun it is to buy, get this, TWO designer shirts and not flinch. To walk confidently into an expensive store and tell them what you're looking for. To be ABLE to emotionally shop. I started doing that after her death, though. There is just so much I wish she could have experienced. With me. She did tease me, however, about getting a pedicure every three weeks. She couldn't understand why I just didn't do it myself; what a waste of money. Why didn't I do it myself anymore, because I no longer HAD to. I no longer was the loser, the struggler, the one without. Childhood always stays with us, even if our perception was wrong. And being a girl is just so hard when you're growing up.

I am not rich, not even CLOSE. I am 'comfortable', which is truly all I ever wanted to be. I always hoped to live in a nice home, without having to worry about how we were going to pay the bills, with a wonderful husband from a good family, and with my two kids. I hope and pray that they never know the financial struggles I know are out there. I know my mom would hope the same for them. So yes, I essentially believe Jeff 'bought' me a new life because I have never lived this way before, and I probably wouldn't be able to without him. Am I dependent on him financially? I guess so. Does it bother me? Sometimes. But remember, I am a smart cookie, and one of the smartest things I ever did was to marry Jeff. And not only from a financial standpoint, believe me.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I (Heart) Carmen

Today I went to have a pregnancy massage, with my all-time favorite masseuse Carmen. I had one pregnancy massage with another masseuse before finding my angel Carmen, and let's just say 'waste of money'! When I got a gift-certificate for my birthday I decided to give it another try as I was getting sooooo uncomfortable. I just called to see if someone could get me in, and Carmen did. From the moment I met her, she was very professional and asked questions no other massage therapist had asked before. I also found out she is certified in prenatal massage. She told me she found the pregnancy massage the spa offers to be just 'fluff'; she does it differently. I was feeling just so bad that when she told me this, I swear I could have hugged her! And another great thing about Carmen: she doesn't TALK during the massage. I swear I have gotten the nicest people before, but they always want to talk. I don't want to talk during a massage, I want to zone out and enjoy it. After all, it isn't often that can find the time, not to mention someone to watch Steve, so I can have a massage.

So I am feeling great right now, well for being almost 9 months pregnant. I owe this to Carmen. I hope my good tip is compensation enough; I feel like nothing will adequately tell her what she has done for me. A little dramatic, eh? Oh, but so true.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ever Have One of Those Days....

when all you can think about is that your husband will be home in 4, 3, 2 hours to help you, and then you get a phone call from him at about 5:30PM saying he won't be leaving for another hour and a half? And not knowing that he'd be late, you actually cooked a GOOD meal while your toddler screamed," NOooooooooooo!!!!!" in the whiniest voice possible because, hey it worked last week when he was sick? Oh, and you're 8 1/2 months pregnant to boot, and said toddler knows all too well that your patience is shot and you can no longer keep up with him? Yah, that was my day.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Just an FYI

Steve is feeling better, thank you to those who posted or e-mailed me. Steve just started becoming himself today. Prior to today, we were back on a newborn's schedule complete with frequent screams/crying at night. It is oddly comical now, but Jeff and I were nudging each other when it was 'your turn' to get up with Steve. Steve was also really whiney, and the house was always full of noise. I guess I have really gotten used to the routine that we have set up. I was feeling so down when all of this was happening, I believe partly because, like with a newborn, I didn't know what to expect next. Plus, I was so worried about Steve. At any rate, this experience has reminded me of what it's like to have a newborn in the house. I am scared, frankly. Excited and scared, but still scared. I know I cannot prepare totally for what life will be like with two children. Heck, I can't even prepare for having a newborn in the house because he may be very different from Steve. So what worked with Steve may not work with this baby, and vice versa. And I remember quite well how much the first 6 weeks sucked. I am not the greatest with newborns. Give me a 3-6 month old and I am in heaven, but a newborn, well, that is not my strength. Older babies smile and cry for reasons. You can read them better, but with newborns I am often at a lose as to what they want. Plus, after having a c-section I am just so worn out from trying to recover. I am trying to tell myself that it may be better this time, and it may be. I have raised an infant before, my mom is not dying, and the weather at this time of the year is nicer so I can get out. My mood is influenced by the weather, so good weather can only help. But then I say, I will have TWO children to take care of, a c-section to recover from, and my mom is dead so I can't even receive reassurance from her. I am also afraid of the PPD returning. Sigh........................ I guess I have to learn that I cannot control everything, and that there are some things I can't know until they happen. I just pray all goes well. I really do.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Can I Keep Them, Please?!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been very small-breasted my whole life. I never had the need to even buy a bigger bra when I was pregnant with Steve. Nope. When I went into labor I had my regular 34A on. For those of you overseas who use the metric system, think VERY, VERY SMALL. I was hugely disappointed because I had always looked forward to having larger breasts when I was pregnant. Even my mom whom was also flat chested had larger boobs when she was pregnant. I thought it was a given; turns out it's not. I did not breast feed, but my milk did come in and I have to report that even then, I did not need a larger bra. How is that possible? I thought I must be a freak of nature. My breasts got wider, but that was about it.

After the disapppointment of my last pregnancy, you can imagine my amazement when it appeared that I was getting larger boobs from the beginning of this pregnancy. Even Jeff noticed it, and believe me, he would not lie to me about it. When we went to our first ultrasound and found out we were having twins, I figured that must be the reason. I had very high hormone levels, which did give me bad morning sickness AND, I figured, a bigger chest. Unfortunately, we lost baby B somewhere between 8-10 weeks and I figured that my breast growth would be stunted then too. Of course, I thought of this AFTER I grieved for our baby. I'm not that self-absorbed:)

Imagine to my surprise when they kept right on growing, and growing, and growing! I do admit to wearing push-up bras when I go out sans Steve. I mean I have got to enjoy this while it lasts! And you know you have big boobs when your girlfriends comment to you on it. Last week, I went to Jeff's work for lunch. I do not have many clothes for warm weather, and last Wednesday it was 80 degrees. I told him I was going to have to wear the spaghetti strap tank with a cute Gap maternity cardigan. I told him that 'the girls' would be on display though. With that shirt I can't keep them down. He seemed very happy about that. I am not the only one who is enjoying this new development.' Not that we're having sex or anything; too big, tired and uncomfortable at this point!

I know this too shall pass, but I want to keep them!!!! Please, please please!!!! I have been good. I have put my time in. Don't I deserve this? Sigh.... I was not going to BF, but maybe I will so 'the girls' and me can have more time together. We can't stand to part just yet.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Parenting is Hard!

After a thrilling Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have brought me back to the depths of how hard parenting can be. Now the weather was even better Tuesday than it was on Monday. I woke up to birds singing..............and then it all went to hell. I walked into my son's room and it literally smelled like a bomb went off; a big, poopy one. Upon closer inspection, I saw poop in his crib. He has not had a major blowout in such a long time that I was not anticipating this. So, I pick up the boy, change him and then rip the sheets off. Does anyone have any idea how hard it is to get sheets off a crib mattress when they are safety latched on and when your belly is so big you just can't get close enough to the crib. Well, sheer determination is the only way I got those sheets off and down to the laundry.

I stupidly thought this was the end of it. I mean it's April for cripe's sake. Steve and I went downstairs and had breakfast. He wouldn't eat his Cream Of Wheat, but ate everything else, so I thought nothing of it.

I put Steve back in his crib with his assortment of toys, and went to get myself ready for our tumbling class. I was halfway done when I heard a scream. THE SCREAM. The scream that all moms know only means one thing-----something was very wrong with my boy. I walked into Steve's room to find the mattress, I hadn't put a new sheet on yet, covered in puke and poor little Steve standing with dirty hands. Steve hates dirty hands, so you can imagine how upset he was. Now I felt bad for the child, I really did. BUT I am really bad with throw up. Give me blood any day, but no thanks to the puke. Oh, and with my bloodhound sense of smell that I have right now, well, I almost lost my cookies too! I just surveyed the situation and I didn't know where to start. Finally, I figured it was best to clean my little one to make him feel better. And a bath was the only way to go; the situation was already too far gone, if you know what I mean.

Steve never did throw up again, and only had diarhea. He was running around the house being his usual toddler self. I just didn't get it. I told him he is supposed to be MORE tired after throwing up, not less. He didn't care what he was SUPPOSED to be; he just kept running while I didn't know whether to make heads or tails of the situation.

That evening Steve even was able to keep down water, toast and sugar-free applesauce. I figured maybe that was the end of it. The diarhea was gone, he hadn't thrown up again and he was eating. Plus, he was playing with his toys again. AGAIN I was wrong.

He woke up this morning very lethargic and very warm. He had a 103.5 temp. He wouldn't eat and barely drank. He just sat there crying. I felt helpless. I also had an OB appt. that I had to go to because I hadn't seen a doctor in 6 weeks. Two weeks ago I saw the nurse, but the doctor had to leave to deliver a baby. I also knew there was no way I could take Steve with me in the condition he was in. I made the decision to call Jeff and ask him to come home while I went to my appt. Poor Jeff has a 45-60 minute commute each way. He had only been there an hour and a half when I called. I expected him to be upset or tell me to call his mother, but he didn't. He said to give him five minutes and he would be on his way. It was still so early that his boss wasn't even there. Jeff likes to get there early to get things done before there is anyone or anything to interfere with his work. He's an early bird; I am not! I was just so impressed with my husband. I think I even fell more inlove with him at that moment. Who'd have thought 10 years ago I would get that little patter when my husband agreed to come home and watch our sick kid so I could go to a doctor appt. Sad, but true.

Of course, my OB was late. I was the second appt. of the day! WHen they led me to the room, the nurse said he wasn't even in the office yet, and they hoped he wouldn't be too long. Sorry. I had visions of them cancelling my appt. after all I'd gone through to get there. I was hormonal, I admit. I haven't been able to sleep, I 've been taking care of a sick kid while being 8 months pregnant and incredibly uncomfortable, and now I may have to come back AGAIN to see the doctor. Tears were welling up in my eyes, and I tried to tell myself, 'Don't cry, no one will take you seriously if you cry.' I do not cry easily, but between hormones and no sleep, I was on the verge. Lucklily, I was able to stop before I started. My OB ended up being 35 minutes late, no I'm not counting, but he made it. He apologized, and I usually end up saying, 'Oh, that's OK', but I didn't this time. I think that surprised him. I'm sick of always being nice, and my time meaning nothing. Anyway, long story short. The baby is doing well. His heartbeat is strong, he's moving, and he's measuring BIG still. My OB said it was a good thing we were taking him by c-section and early. I agree. I doubt I'd be able to make it to 40 weeks. I can also take Benadryl to help me sleep. AND I WILL.

Fast forward to Steve's doctor appt. I usually underreact and my kid is sicker than I thought. I always feel terrible then and vow never to make him wait for treatment again. This time I didn't. Steve wasn't himself, and I wanted to make sure he was OK. The doctor could only see him during naptime, of course. Bottom-line: It's what I thought, a mild version of the flu. Apparently, everyone has it. Lovely! Steve already had it back in September, and he lovingly gave it to all of us. I found out I was pregnant on a Wednesday, and got the lovely flu on Friday. I thought he was done. He did get the flu shot, but this is the stomach flu, so it doesn't help.

We tried to take a nap when we got home. 45 minutes into it, I hear a screaming cry. Diahrea. More laundry to do. This parenting thing is hard.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Loving Daylight Savings Time!

As my title suggests, this daylight savings time rocks! As does the weather we had here today. It was in the upper 60's and sunny; a perfect day. Steve and I went and had the car washed inside and out. I have not had this done since the fall, and I love a clean car. Back in the fall, Steve was so bored by the whole carwash experience. He didn't want to watch through the glass windows or wait for the car to be hand-dried. He just wanted to go bye-bye. Today was different. He was enthralled by the whole experience, and sat by my side as we waited for the car to be dried. He even gave the man who dried our car the tip; he was so excited! I was just so proud of him. Getting the car washed was just so easy this time, not like it has been in the past, which was a battle for endurance. Steve loved getting into the clean car, as did I.

Afterwards, I rewarded him with the opportunity to play outside with what has become his most cherished toy: a racing push car. Yep, the one where the baby gets in and the parent pushes him. My son doesn't want to be pushed around in it; he just wants to push it. Last year he loved his little lawnmower. This year it's the pushcar. Go figure. It was just so darn gorgeous here today; one of the few days that I am happy to live here in the Midwest.

Tonight my dad and his fiancee' came over to help move the rest of the office furniture out of the room that is to become Steve's. A charity run by a woman who attends the same Bible study as I do is coming to pick it all up tomorrow. The volunteer drivers would have moved the furniture for us, but Jeff and I felt since our hallways are narrow it would be best for us to move it to our garage and they can just load it from there. I am quite sure the volunteers will be happy about that!

After they come for the furniture, I am going in person to the store where I ordered Steve's furniture from to ask them what is going on with the furniture. It has been 11 weeks; it's time. The owner told me two weeks ago that the company said it may be in this week. I am going to make myself a pest of sorts now until I get this furniture. I will not be rude or offensive, but I believe making yourself known and seen often gets you somewhere. I have followed the rules, and I have not seen any furniture. I believe by going into a store you are treated a bit better; I mean you are right in front of them. Plus, I am huge, plain and simple. I am sure they will believe that I am even farther along than I am. They cannot ignore a huge, pregnant lady. Let's get going guys! I don't have a lot of time!

I better be going. My husband is currently yelling at the TV; he's watching the Illinois game and apparently the refs suck, or the players are doing a crappy job. Either way, he's not happy. Oh, and I now hear my baby boy crying. Swell. Hopefully, tonight I get a shower, helps me relax. Oh, and no acid reflux tonight would be nice too. Last night it burned my throat so bad I didn't fall asleep until after 3 in the morning. I am tired!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Pope and Terri Schiavo, My Opinion

Let me say this first, I am not Catholic. OK, now to my post. On Friday, many of our major news stations were broadcasting on the Pope's health condition, as I'm sure most places were. Chicago has a very large population of Roman Catholics, so this was very big news here. At any rate, on one of the stations, they called the watching of the Pope the 'deathwatch'. Now I do understand that the man's health has been terrible for some time, and it seemed inevitable that he would pass away shortly, which he did indeed do. But what upset me the most was the disrespect for his life that was going on. I don't care who it is that is dying, you don't put on your best Hollywood face and dress and talk about a man's final hours as a 'deathwatch.' Many mourners came to pay their respects to this man; I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is the media making a huge spectacle of the Pope's final hours on this earth. Now I do not agree with many of the Pope's, and thus the church's, beliefs, but I do believe in the right to die with dignity. That's all I have to say on the matter.

On a slightly similiar topic, I have some problems with the Schiavo situation as well. I am not going to go into who was right or wrong because I simply do not know the answer. I do believe that the media got out of hand in this case too. I also was offended by the crowds outside the hospice where Mrs. Schiavo was being cared for. I was offended for the Schiavos, but also for the people who were not a family member of Mrs.Schiavo. This is a HOSPICE people! It is supposed to be a PEACEFUL place where a person lives out their final moments of their lives. How could these other patients do this with the media circus/crowds all around them? They couldn't, and this is terrible. Where are THOSE peoples' rights? The crowds/media just didn't care. It was all about ratings and how THEY felt about the situation. In our newspaper there was a woman crying upon learning the news of Mrs.Schiavo's death. Was she a relative, friend, did she even KNOW Mrs. Schiavo? The answers are no. Do not bring the pro-life movement into this case; in's not about being pro-life or pro-choice. This was not an abortion issue, yet many of the same people who show up for pro-life rallies were there chanting their opinions, waving their signs, and most appalling to me--sending their own children to the hospice's doors with water knowing full well said child would never get in. They just want to make a 'statement'. Using one's own child in that way makes me sick. That child got arrested too. Isn't that nice? I do believe in free speech, very much so. But when do your rights override someone else's rights, especially to die in peace with dignity which is essentially what the Hospice mission is all about. I know this because my own mother was once a Hospice nurse, and just two years ago, a Hospice patient. I cannot say enough good things about the organization, and neither could my mother. So whatever your opinion on the Schiavo case is, I do not wish to argue it. I just wanted to comment on my disdain for the media and the crowds who made a circus out of the whole situation, and perhaps have people remember that there were other Terri Schiavos and patients who were there at the same time who were there to die with dignity in full agreement with their families. I only pray that their deaths occurred with SOME level of peace. And I don't know about all of you, but I am finally going to follow my own mother's advice and get a living will. You will not hear about my death on the TV.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

A Productive Day

Today Jeff, Steve and I went to a mall about 45 minutes away to look for curtains for Steve's room and a coming home outfit for the baby. This mall is more upscale than ours, so I figured I may have better luck in finding an outfit for the baby there. Nope. However, I was finally able to find the curtains and rod/holdbacks for Steve's baseball room. I am thrilled! We found them at Pottery B*rn Kids, and both Jeff and I were surprised at how little we spent. The prices for what we bought were comparable to T*rget, if you can believe that. I bought the most amazing quilt/pillows from The L*nd of Nod back in January. I also ordered Steve's furniture at that time. I am a planner through and through.

Steve's room is awesome, if you are into a baseball theme, which we are. We just hope Steve is too. Anyway, Steve's room is painted in Chicago Cubs' colors: red, white and blue. The bottom of the walls are Cubs' blue, the middle border is red with baseball cards in the middle(wood frames the top and bottom) with a plexiglass covering over them. Then there is white up until the ceilings. The border on top of the wall is hooks that hold baseball hats of which we have many, so that is practical as well. On the ceiling is a ceiling fan that has blades that look like bats, a baseball looking ball for the light, and it is all attached to home plate. I love it! Steve's quilt is the MVP quilt that has a baseball diamond/game stitched onto it with baseball looking pillows accompanying it. Today we also bought a baseball lamp and wastebasket from B*mbay Kids. And this week I took a Cub poster signed by former Cubs players such as Ron Santos in to be framed. Jeff's dad got the poster for him, which we really appreciated. It will look great in the room. So, although I may never have my girl, I am having fun decorating my little boy's room. I am probably going over the top too, but I don't care. And SOMEDAY Steve will actually have furniture in his room:) I am going to the store in person this week. Maybe my huge belly will inspire some action.

I feel so much better now that I got a bunch of things done; the laundry is currently being washed as I type this. Jeff has been working so many hours, I am trying to give him a break; he has been doing the majority of the laundry since I got pregnant. So tomorrow I have told him beyond caring for Steve, he is doing nothing. No housework, no yardwork, no grocery shopping, etc. He needs time to refuel. I know I'm 8 months pregnant, but I feel guilty for all of the things he's taken care of. My SIL told me to let him do it now, because once the baby is here I'll be doing a lot again, and maybe she's right, but I have a hard time letting go. As I've said before, I have control issues. I just keep dreaming about this baby, and I am so excited to meet him. Plus, I am getting anxious to not have this sciatic pain/leg and foot cramps anymore. I just pray with all that I have that this little one is healthy.

Friday, April 01, 2005

More Things I Don't Understand

I've overcome my pissed-offness about the smoking issue from the other night. Thanks to those who posted to me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that smoke is downright awful.

Now I have another thing that I fail to understand. While sitting at the dinner table at Easter, my ILs continued to give my son pop. Caffeine-free Diet Coke to be exact. Now I do understand the grandparent spoiling thing, and I hope to have the priviledge of spoiling my little grandbabies someday, too. I do not however, understand the need to constantly give the child pop, or caffeinated ice-tea at 7:30 at night, but that's another story. I also get a bit peeved when Jeff or I ask them to not give him any more and we are mocked, and Steve continues to get fed more pop. I mean, we are the parents. Sidenote: we don't have a problem with a few sips of pop as a 'treat', but that's it. At any rate, as we are being mocked the conversation turns to when Jeff was a baby. Yes, the old and 'he turned out fine' speech. AKA Bev: listen up. You are too overprotective. Apparently, Jeff's aunt and uncle who never had kids, for good reason we believe, talked about when they babysat Jeff when he was 3 months old and put Pepsi in his bottle. I turned to Jeff's sister and told her, "And they wonder why they don't babysit Steve." Well, of course, the aunt heard, and was offended. Do I feel guilty? NO! If you are dumb enough to think that it was EVER ok to feed an infant Pepsi, then you deserve to hear what I said. Anyway, Jeff's parents laughed, and talked about putting a straw into a cup when Jeff was young and feeding him pop too. They continued to laugh, as my face looked on mortified I'm sure, and said,"I think he turned out just fine." So I say,"Yah, he's just struggled with his weight." Either I was not heard, which is possible, or I was ignored because as usual I was being overprotective in their minds. I thought about all the problems Jeff has had with his teeth too. I mean do these people watch the news and hear about all the problems with childhood obesity and cavities? I mean the doctors are going ballistic about JUICE, let alone POP. It blows my mind.

Steve loves milk and water, yes water. He will drink juice SOMETIMES. I have bought pineapple juice because he loves pineapples; he hates it. I bought tomato juice; he hates it. I bought apple juice, not a fan of that either. Hates orange juice, too. So I have backed off on juice. My MIL feels the child should have juice. Both of my ILs feel we are mean for giving him water, even though it is recommended by our doctor and he LOVES it. I have made my peace with juice though. When we go out with Jeff parents, they can order him juice if it makes them feel better. Choose your battles. I think juice in moderation is fine actually. It's just Steve doesn't like it so why force him to drink it?

The other thing that has been keeping me awake lately is what do they give him to drink when we're not around? I have resigned myself that when they babysit him, which is only occassionally these days, that whatever he drinks is fine. It's only one night. But now I am actually worried about the 4-5 days they will be watching him when I am in the hospital. I tell myself that I probably won't care as I'll be in la-la land at that point, but I do care. I also am worrying about my routine being shot to hell while they are with him. I have worked hard to get a general rountine going and it's worked very well. Now is not the time to change that routine. Especially with a new baby, kids cling to routine. By routine, I am not talking about a nap that strictly takes place at 12:00 sharp; I 'm talking more about the order of things. A friend of mine commented on how she sent her own mother home, because in her words, "Everything was a mess. Everything was out of order and I couldn't take it anymore." She had a c-section and was still in pain, but favored toughing it out physically than dealing with the disorder that her home now had. I can understand that actually. My brother has also offered to take Steve too, so this is an option. I do think that Jeff's parents coming to the house is a good thing, though. So we'll see. I also know they love him, but we do have different parenting styles. I know it is common to feel what worked for your child, regardless of how old said child is, will work for all. But the truth of the matter is we are his parents, and like they did 30 years+ ago, we will do what we feel is best for our child. Things change, some for the better, some for the worse, but we are the ones responsible for him and we will do what we feel is right. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but as the old saying goes, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'